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Publicity from the lecture platform could also be put into action by such a bureau, as suggested in a letter from ex-Governor J. G. A. Brackett, of Massachusetts, one of the ablest and best posted men on building and loan matters in the United States:
"The work of the building associations in promoting home ownership among the people is a subject that would appeal to Chautauqua Associations, as they are on the lookout for speakers upon live subjects like this. The building association movement could be brought to the attention of many persons attending these meetings, a majority of whom are probably not now familiar with it. It would tend to awaken a new interest in the movement and to increase the goodwill of the public towards it. Establish such a lecture bureau, and through it make arrangements for speakers to address various Chautauqua meetings during summer and the lyceums in the fall and winter, upon the work of the building associations, the benefits they are conferring upon the people, and the importance of public spirited citizens interesting themselves in promoting their growth and usefulness. As the work of such a bureau would be for the interest of the associations generally, and it would cost them nothing (the Chautauqua, Lyceums, etc., would pay the lecturer for his service), they would heartily approve the talks of a well-known building association man."
We should establish and maintain a permanent bureau of investigation and education, an organization that could be known as the United States Bureau of Publicity for the Building and Loan, to render service to its members comprising the various State Leagues, placing all the facilities of its office and staff at their disposal, for the establishment of an information department, properly equipped with expert help to handle promptly all requests for information; covering a wide scope even to the status of legislative measures or matters pending before an executive department; compiling of statistics and the production of literature for the press as well as for individual associations, with a permanent office for the United States and also in each state where there is a State League organization; each office to contain a library of the proceedings of the United States League and the various State League meetings, also proceedings and copies of bills of interest to the building and loan associations of the United States Congress and State Senates and Houses of Representatives, where all measures introduced in Congress and state can be properly looked into, recorded and indexed for reference, by properly trained experts, not laymen, before and after they have been introduced and passed. Hardly a question bearing on building and loan work should be unanswerable by this department.
Said library also to contain exhibits of charts, statistics, literature and examples of results of the building and loan plan of thrift; stereopticon views (as used by the United States Steel Company before the Housing Conferences, illustrative of their home-building plan in the vicinity of their great works, which are run on a very similar plan to the building and loan); moving picture shows, as already in course of production by the Vitagraph Company for the Bankers' Association. These could all be used to great advantage to illustrate the broad, constructive tendencies of our modern building and loan association at its best, if properly
arranged and personally attended at meetings and conventions of such organizations as the National Housing Association of New York, conferences of which are held periodically in all our larger cities.' Societies of ethical culture and real estate boards, and many others which have been attended by members of our Leagues and which organizations we know are doing much for the uplift and housing betterment of the working people, members of which being entirely uninformed of the existence of such an institution as an American building and loan'association. · Let us look into the details and possibilities. The funds for and a financial plan of accumulation and maintenance of such a bureau could be secured at a very nominal sum per member of our two and a half million members in the United States. For instance, request annually a contribution of five cents per member-a total of fifty dollars per thousand members of all associations into their own State League treasury. This amount then to be divided equally between the State League and the United States League. This, of course, would not be complied with by all associations, but we can calculate on fifty per cent of the number, and that would create a total fund of $60,000 to be used pro rata by the United States League and the several State Leagues for the work and expense of the publicity bureaus. If all of the two and a half million members gave a five-cent piece each (and where is the man or woman, especially a building and loan association member, that would not spend that to benefit his fellow-man?), it would create a fund of $125,000. Or, again, with over 2,836,000 members in the United States our latest figures—request a voluntary contribution monthly of the sum of one cent per member, to be paid by such associations as would be willing to enter into this campaign. We calculate on only a small percentage, but in my opinion it would create a fund that we could start the establishment of a publicity bureau. I simply make these exhibits to show what the possibilities are of accumulating a large fund by small donations. What huge savings of advertising appropriations for individual associations could be effected by concentrated action of a central bureau composed of the brains and ability of experienced minds!
The United States League is a business proposition, a financial clearing house, as it were, and we have the foundation already laid for such a bureau in the shape of what is known in general business parlance as a house organ, The AMERICAN BUILDING AssoCIATION News, founded in the year 1880, with a circulation extending all over the world; an epitome of the life and noble work of the editor thereof. But this is not "general publicity,” its circulation being among people already educated in the ways of thrift and home building, namely, officers and directors of the building and loan associations. It is mostly distributed by subscription, .very naturally to contribute to the existence of the publisher. But how is the public to be brought to the knowledge that there is such a splendid publication ? Nevertheless, it is a nucleus. It has been adopted as the official organ of the United States League. The possibilities of the greater development and usefulness of this magazine can better be stated by the veteran publisher thereof than your speaker. The elaboration and greater distribution of our official organ among our two and a half million members is only one of the many ways of education of the public to the building and loan plan of thrift that the Bureau of Publicity could develop.
This National Bureau of Publicity could also include in its business such needs as set forth in an open letter to our honorable President, W. J. Bayersdorffer, and the gentlemen composing the United States Commission of the International Congress of Building and Loan Associations at London, by Mr. Fremont Wood, dated San Francisco, May 11, 1914, and printed in the June edition of the AMERICAN BUILDING ASSOCIATION News, Page 271, and the several correspondence of James A. Barr, Director of Congresses, and Mr. Leon Martin, secretary of the California Building and Loan League, regarding a desirable exhibit of the building and loan work and the United States League of Building and Loan Associations at the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, at San Francisco, Cal., one of the greatest expositions held since the World's Fair in Chicago. Expositions of this kind are the means of world-wide education. Much of our present prosperity can be traced to the exhibits at Chicago in 1893.
Pay for such work should properly come from a publicity fund such as herein set forth, rather than making a separate call for each and every purpose.
The plans for securing funds for the education of the public to the building and loan plan of thrift, such as I have mentioned, could be modified or elaborated by the appointed members of the bureau and the Committee of Ways and Means. The creation of such a bureau or department is an imperative necessity to insure the advancement and permanency of our State League, United States League and the building and loan plan itself.
Building and loan associations have made a most remarkable record--one of which we are all exceedingly proud. But that record has become a part of history and can be used only as a reference in carrying out the plans for greater things to be done. The establishment of such a National Bureau of Publicity by your honorable body would not only be the means of forwarding and bringing into greater usefulness the building and loan cause, but would also be the means of assisting in the solution of many of our national problems, such as the loan shark evil, farm loans question and the housing problems.
A Great Uplifter. The building association builds character and thrift, and the members, especially in rural districts, build homes. The name will survive, as it represents almost all things that build up.
Pennsylvania Report. The figures from the report of Banking Commissioner Smith on the operations of building and loan associations in Pennsylvania during 1913 have just been compiled and are embraced in the report sent to Governor Tener by the Banking Commissioner, showing the fiscal business at the close of the year. The total number of associations was 1,735, of which 25 transacted no business during the year, and 90 were incorporated during the year. Twenty-five wound up business and went out of existence.
The assets of the active associations were $233,564,455.60, a gain of $19,738,967.90 over 1912, the liabilities embracing the same figures. The receipts, in which are included $4,313,056.10 cash at the beginning of the year, were $122,011,512.43, and the disbursements the same with cash on hand, amounting to $4,583,371.90. The increase of receipts was $11,376,811.82. The number of shares in force is 4,106,545. There are 346,886 male and 163,953 female shareholders. In the matter of installment stock there was an increase of $15,000,000 and a decrease of $130,000 in full paid stock. There has been an increase in the account of matured stock of $800,000, largely in local associations. Borrowed money has increased nearly $1,000,000. The new liability, called the "contingent fund," amounts to $359,936.13.
A new feature of the law now being tested is known as a "split mortgage" system and is intended to give associations loaning on second mortgages the right to take the first mortgage without requiring the borrower to secure shares of stock. Of the increase of nearly $20,000,000 in assets, over $19,000,000 went into mort
There was an increase of $800,000 in real estate. Over $7,000,000 of investments are in buildings other than dwellings, of which nearly $5,000,000 is in the city of Philadelphia and $2,000,000 in Pittsburg. These loans are on manufactories, hotels, moving picture establishments, theatres and business places generally.
1 he commissioner's conclusions on this point are significant, where he says:
"Years ago loans of this character could not be obtained in building and loan associations, and the privileges granted by the state to foster the system were intended to inculcate thrift in the wage-earner by inducements to secure homes. These loans are now largely put through by promoters who charge for their services enormous commissions which are not paid into the treasuries of the respective associations for the benefit of all shareholders.
Of the 26 associations which wound up business during the year, quite a number might have been placed in the hands of receivers, with large profit to the receivers and at great loss to the unfortunate shareholders; but this was averted. Many of those which wound up affairs did not adhere to building and loan principles. They issued stock series, but allowed shareholders to use
the association as if it were a bank or saving fund, withdrawing money at any time. Such associations rarely mature stock, charge high premiums for loans and take great risks, says the commissioner, in consequence of which they accumulate vast amounts of real estate by foreclosure and resort to schemes to increase the salaries of their officers, which, while technically within the law, produce dissatisfaction among the shareholders, who in turn send in complaints to the department, which, under the law, cannot give them any information as to the results of examinations.
California Report. Advance sheets of the California report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1914, have just been issued by Commissioner Geo. S. Walker, and give the following information regarding the condition of the associations in that state. The assets and liabilities are:
ASSETS. Loans on mortgages and stock...
150,348.55 Cash in office and bank.
864,759.33 Real estate owned..
741,808.20 Furniture and fixtures.
29,260.39 Advances, ledger accounts.
237,551.94 Other assets
125,744.39 9,753,779.39 2,848,846.77 4,119,018.63
265,407.26 8,672,713.86 200,875.12
41,442.32 1,137,550.43 1,194,235.26 354,461.61 145,542.14 53,392.16
. $29,515,762.57 The increase in assets over 1913 was $1,199,740. Total number of active associations, 92, a decrease of two, while five associations are in process of liquidation. Members-Male, 18,494; female, 10,501, over one-third, with an average investment of $673 for each member. The number of borrowers is reported as 19,094—an increase of 794—making the average loan to each borrower $1,439. The outstanding shares of all classes show a decrease of 1,050, while the outstanding certificates show an increase of 7,498.
The number of loans made for building purposes was 2,059—